thanks reboot for sharing your opinion in a costructive manner
this topic is already a point of discussion in the moderators\developers group and some share your same concerns.
First and foremost: every change that you will see in Volumio3 has been thought as a way to improve Volumio, to bring it to the next level by learning from previous mistakes and trying new approaches.
That means that not everyone will be happy with the changes, it’s inevitable. But rest assured that everything has been carefully considered weighting pros and cons, and if a decision is taken is only for the best of Volumio.
Anyway, as always, it’s good to have open discussions about it, as some better solution might emerge by discussing with the community.
The login of a MyVolumio account (free account, of course) has been put in place to make the whole Plugins ecosystem a better place both for developers and users. As stated many times, one of the primary goals of Volumio3 is improve the quality of submitted plugins.
Login will help in the following ways:
- Developer can upload in a faster way new plugin updates, and we are automatically notified about it and in case of issues, we can rapidly communicate with the developer. There is also some groundwork for a “developer” account, which will
allow developers to develop and push updates in a faster way.
- There is groundwork done for rating of plugins. Of course you need user accounts to do it. We considered the option of allowing reviews only for logged-in users, but this would have increased development time considerably (you basically have 2 different
scenarios to take into consideration). In our opinion, ratings (and reviews if we’ll ever do them) will provide a huge incentive to improve plugins even more, so this is quite an important aspect in the overall design.
- One of the requests done most often by this community is to have a plugin store where plugins can be bought once. Having therefore a login is mandatory. Note that this feature is long from being done, but this makes it possible from an architectural point of view.
We could have made it available also only for logged-in users, but the same rationale of the previous answer apply.
There is just one aspect that we really regret in this decision (that admittedly we did not consider): community portings without myvolumio would not have access to the plugins store.
We might reconsider this in the future, but now all of our efforts are towards removing all bugs from Volumio3. Also, community portings are really a low percentage of total installs (we are talking about tens of users, vs hundreds of thousands of official builds)
so its a tough call to remove focus from working on the main platforms to accomodate such a small percentage. A side effect of this, which can be beneficial, is that this will be an incentive for users to use official Volumio builds, which is where we focus all of our efforts, making sure people which want to use plugins will have the best possible experience.
So, while users login do not directly improve the plugin ecosystem experience, we do have reasons to believe that some indirect effects will ultimately lead to faster and better development of plugins, motivations to make them better and safer and offer compelling feature that the community asked for long, all at a reasonable development effort considering our development resources.
Of course, we do expect this to be an incentive of people which never considered trying MyVolumio (starting from the free tier) to try it. This might generate additional revenues trough MyVolumio (totally optional, as account is free) which not only will help
cover the additional costs of the plugin ecosystem (now we have an additional overhead for hosting the infrastructure and curating the plugins) but will allow us to invest even more in Volumio in general, which will ultimately benefit everyone.
Then, there are 2 points where I disagree with you:
- Developers donate plugins to Volumio and we put them behind a login-wall. That’s not right, in your opinion.
Our job here is to reward developers with better “tools” to keep on doing what they do, helping them to make their plugins in a better way and keep the confidence of users towards plugins high. Simply speaking, we have put a huge amount of effort (believe me)
into setting up new rules for plugin publishing, expert curation and a built a new infrastructure to make it happen.
If this effort reaches the goal of creating a better plugin ecosystem, then I think we are doing what developers want from us, and respecting their contribution.
Bear in mind that everything above takes time, money and lot of thought to happen, and this is possible because we receive a stream of revenues from MyVolumio and we are happy to bring it back to the whole community.
- You are now paying with your data, you say.
This assumes that 1, we harvest data, 2 this data has actual value, 3 a login allows to harvest more data. First, our business model is not a free service which makes money with advertisting or selling data. Our business model is to create the best possible
high quality music player and being rewarded if we do a good job, so data is not really relevant in this scenario. You might argue that seeing usage statistics allows us to do a better product, but this can be done without a login mechanism (for full transparency, we do know how many times a plugin has been downloaded already). And, honestly, I don’t see where the problem can be in analyzing usage patterns to make just a better understanding of what the community wishes and uses most.
As stated again, we do not (and never will) sell any data that we collect, as this does not fit with our ethics.
Hope this clarifies the rationale that we followed before taking this decision and what are the ultimate goals of it. Any constructive feedback is welcome.